Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Listening Chart

Addie has officially completed her third week of preschool and I am SO PROUD of my little peanut for not shedding a single tear through this entire process. I am so happy she has adjusted so well and is already comfortable with her teachers and friends.

She is so comfortable, in fact, that she is already showing her little personality.

You Addie is a talker. I have absolutely NO idea where she gets this of course :-) She is also a daydreamer and whenever she is thinking or concentrating on something, she literally can't hear people around her. Again, I have no idea where she gets this :-)

So when I went to pick her up from preschool on Tuesday, her teacher told me that their class will be beginning time-outs next week and she needs Addie to work on "listening". I mean...I shouldn't have even been surprised. She is my daughter. I have been in trouble for talking and not listening my whole life!!!

But I was a little sad to hear this. I spent the next 48 hours worrying about how to make Addie a better listener and how to be more consistent with our discipline. I admittedly went overboard with her on Tuesday, punishing her for every single moment that she made me repeat myself twice. I wanted her to know that she will be in time-out at home and in school every time she doesn't listen. But this just made her stressed and confused and she spent the better part of the night crying for every little thing. I knew I needed a different approach.

The next day, I made her pancakes and talked to her about what happened in school. I explained how important it is to listen and we even played a few "listening games" where we would take turns being the teacher and student and give each other directions. She really had a lot of fun with that and I think that game helped more than anything.

We also decided to make a little sticker chart. 

A lot of parenting books (and experienced parents) will tell you that positive reinforcement and praise will go a lot farther with behavior than hard core discipline. This is not to say that I won't be using time-outs because I do think those are important too. But with Addie, I feel like a more positive approach will be better in the beginning. The LAST thing I want to do right now is make preschool a negative place for her. I want her to continue to enjoy herself and be excited to go every week. But she also can't be a little stinker, talking out of turn and doing her own thing all day. She does need to learn to be a better listener and the best place to do that is at school!! Maybe one time-out from her teacher will set her straight for good :-)

I'll admit...I was awake all night last night. I tossed and turned and did everything I could to shut my mind off. But I was worried. I was worried she would get a bad report today, despite all the talking and playing we did the last two days. I was worried that she would come out crying or worst of all...not want to go back on Tuesday.

Luckily, Addie had a FANTASTIC day today and when I asked the teacher how she did, she could see the worry in my eyes. She told me that Addie listened well today and that they will continue to work on it. She said that Addie is "a pleasure" to have in class and she did comment about how polite and friendly she is. She said it's just that Addie gets "very excited" and has a hard time calming down and refocusing. Hmm....sounds like someone else I know!!

I am so happy that I can finally sleep tonight!!! And we have already earned 2 more stickers on our board for cleaning up the playroom when asked, and helping Blake get a toy when asked. I know she will get better every day.

You know...this gets me thinking. Maybe I should have a Listening Chart for my college students :-) 


  1. OMG...I have just spent an hour researching how to get my 3 year old to LISTEN! She got a "bad" report today at preschool and it has had me flustered all afternoon. She talks, she's excited, she's so excited that she's running and talking in the classroom. So she got a yellow circle today (she's been getting green which is good) but I guess she's getting comfortable and showing her true self at this point.

    I'm so thankful to know I'm not the only one in this boat! I might steal your listening chart idea!

  2. time out at school????? that seems crazy. My daughter's preschool handbook says they will absolutely not do timeouts. It seems really harsh.

  3. You might find that one time out from Addie's teacher may be the switch from her being a bad listener to her being a good listener. I know with my daughter (now 13) that discipline from teachers really change her tune quickly. Addie will be find, don't worry. If talking is her only downfall, your in a good place. She's still young & it's all still new to her. Continue to reinforce at home & eventually she will figure out exactly what is expected of her. She's such a little darling!!!

  4. Ethan will be starting preschool in January. I'm very worried about him listening. For the most part, he is a really well-behaved kid, but listening is not his strong suit. I feel like I have to tell him something 3 times and raise my voice each time to get him to listen. Maybe I should try the sticker chart now and get a jumpstart.

  5. m so thankful to know I'm not the only one in this boat! I might steal your listening chart idea!

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